Minister of Trade and Industry-designate, Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, Tuesday hailed the Ghana-United Kingdom (UK) new Interim Trade Partnership Agreement.
“The new Agreement reaffirms the deep interest of both Ghana and the UK to strengthen our longstanding trade and economic relationship and establishes a new framework for Ghana-UK collaboration which will contribute to sustained economic growth in Ghana,” Mr Kyerematen remarked at the signing of the new Interim Trade Partnership Agreement between Ghana-UK.
The new Agreement replaces the Interim Ghana – European Union Economic Partnership Agreement which governed trade relations between Ghana and the UK until the Interim EPA Agreement ceased to apply to the UK on December 31, 2020.
The agreement was signed by Ghana’s Acting High Commissioner to the UK, Mr Peprah Ampratwum and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Madam Liz Truss, at the Department for International Trade in central London, with Mr Kyerematen joining them on a video call.
Negotiations between Ghana and the UK technical teams for this new trade framework started in March 2018 and as is often the case with trade agreements, the negotiations have taken quite a bit of time for two nations to reach consensus on the fundamental elements of the new Agreement.
Mr Kyerematen said, he was pleased that both the Ghana and the UK agreed to use the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) text for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the basis for this new Agreement.
He said the Agreement also reflected the importance that both the Ghana and the UK attached to integration between the West African States within the context of the ECOWAS and amongst African States within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Under the new Agreement we hope to build the foundation for negotiating a free trade agreement between the UK and ECOWAS, which will promote regional integration, economic cooperation and good economic governance in the West African region and increase intra-regional trade,” he said.
“I believe the new Agreement would further support the economic and sustainable development agenda of Ghana by enhancing Ghana’s export potential and export diversification.”
He said in particular, it would provide duty free-quota free access for Ghanaian exports to the UK market, enhance the competitiveness of local industries and improve the business environment in Ghana through development cooperation between the two countries.
“I also believe the Agreement will complement priority policies and projects of the Government of Ghana, in particular the Industrial Transformation Agenda and the National Export Development Strategy which are designed to boost industrial production and enhance export development,” he said.
The Trade Ministers designate thanked the UK Government for actively supporting our programme of developing new Strategic Anchor Industries” which seeks to build new economic pillars of growth and diversify the Ghanaian economy beyond Cocoa and Gold. “
He made special mention of the support Ghana had received from the UK Government in the development of the Automotive Industry as well as the Garment and Pharmaceutical industries.
He said there could not have been a better time than now for the UK and Ghana to be entering into this new Agreement, which hopefully would provide the stimulus for the revitalization of the economies of our two countries particularly in a post-COVID era.
On her part, Madam Truss said: “I am delighted to be able to sign this deal with our friends and partners in Ghana.
“It provides certainty for businesses that provide vital jobs and livelihoods in Ghana, and it strengthens the ties between our two countries.
“We can now look forward to deepening and furthering our relationship in future, and working together to secure a broader agreement with the West Africa Region.”
Mr James Duddridge, the UK Minister for Africa said: “The UK and Ghana have a strong partnership and the signing of today’s agreement marks an important moment for boosting trade, worth £1.2 billion, between our two nations.
“With tariff free access for Ghana to the UK, it will enable businesses to scale up their operations, support innovation in markets and create jobs as we recover together from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Mr Iain Walker, British High Commissioner to Ghana, said: “Today’s signing marks the next chapter of the UK-Ghana partnership strengthened through trade and economic growth.
“This agreement will support vital jobs and ensure certainty for businesses across our two nations.
“As we also see the rollout of the COVAX vaccine in Ghana, the deal comes as both countries continue to build back better in the wake of COVID-19.”